Book Review – ‘Another Day’ (#2 Every Day) by David Levithan

Same story – just a switch in perspective.

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy, LGBT

No. of pages: 327

From Goodreads:

Every day is the same for Rhiannon. She has accepted her life, convinced herself that she deserves her distant, temperamental boyfriend, Justin, even established guidelines by which to live: Don’t be too needy. Avoid upsetting him. Never get your hopes up.

Until the morning everything changes. Justin seems to see her, to want to be with her for the first time, and they share a perfect day—a perfect day Justin doesn’t remember the next morning. Confused, depressed, and desperate for another day as great as that one, Rhiannon starts questioning everything. Then, one day, a stranger tells her that the Justin she spent that day with, the one who made her feel like a real person…wasn’t Justin at all.

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While I revelled in Levithan’s great writing – there wasn’t much else to this novel after reading ‘Every Day,’Another Day’ a companion novel recounting the events from the debut of this series told from Rhiannon’s perspective only added tiny glimpses of new information to the storyline. It did not, however introduce new plot points, new characters or add something new to the ending.

I found myself skimming over the dialogue as it is exactly the same as that from ‘Every Day.’ I was really hoping Levithan was going to do something new, enrich the tale of A and Rhiannon, but it was all predictable, re-hashed and flat.

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

I was still able to consume it in a day, love Levithan’s writing style, the themes of identity, gender, and humanity that were explored; but really, this felt like when you re-watch a movie with the Actor/Producer comments option on… it’s all the same, but just a little bit of extra padding. And it can either bore you and tarnish that first experience, or allow you to relive the splendour of your first time reading.

I am looking forward to ‘Someday’ the third book in the series (which I now have in my possession;) there were so many elements that were set up and not resolved, and I am anxious to see where it all leads. What is the mythology behind A’s condition? Are there others like A out there? How do they live/function in society? Is there the possibility of A remaining in one body? Do A and Rhiannon have a chance at a future together? Will we see Nathan Daldry play a part in this new instalment? What new aspects of identity and the human spirit will ‘Someday’ explore…. so many questions. So there is a lot to look forward to.

I’d only recommend ‘Another Day’ to die-hard fans of ‘Every Day,’ and maybe don’t marathon them, as it gets very repetitive. Otherwise, read the debut, and skip the second book and jump straight into ‘Someday’ you’ll probably enjoy the story much more (and won’t miss anything.) Or if you want a refresher on ‘Every Day’ before jumping into ‘Someday,’ then this could be a great way to do that.

Overall feeling: Argh! Not what I was expecting.

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Another Day (#2 Every Day) Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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Film vs Novel – Every Day

Every Day Film vs Novel Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgThe book by David Levithan consumed me. I read it in one sitting, totally engrossed in the condition of the human soul and its ability to love. I was really excited to hear a movie was coming out, and when I finally got to see it, while not disappointed, though felt the tone and narrative had moved away from the text.

The spirit of protagonist A goes beyond gender and sexual identity and into a space of simply ‘being.’ An exercise in gender fluidity. It was such an amazing perspective on existence. Juxatpose that with the love interest, Rhiannon’s perception and interactions with A, and her gradual understanding and acceptance of A, and their humanity, and you end up with a universal attitude of love and acceptance of everyone. It was truly inspired. This theme rings true in the novel, however in the film version we don’t get the insights and expansion of A’s experiences and it loses a lot of soul and context of the narrative. Additionally Rhiannon spent a larger portion of the movies length struggling and coming to terms with A. So many cuts had to be made to get this novel to fit into an acceptable length for a movie, we miss much of the characters struggles and development. But the cuteness and romance are still front and centre, as is the sci-fi/paranormal element of A inhabiting different bodies every day.

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On the reverse side, being A was weird. Always the interloper, unsure of your very existence. It’s a hard place to be. Alone and transient. Enough to send you completely bonkers. But A finds a way to balance it all – A’s own desires and wishes without impacting the lives of the bodies that are being borrowed for the day. The novel delves into this a lot, where the film mentions it in passing a number of times, and it’s not really discussed until close to the end when religious zealots Nathan (a body A previously inhabited) and his father Reverend Poole challenge A. (Thinking A a demon.) But both novel and film end the story on a big question mark.

Every Day Film vs Novel Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

I loved the tone of zero prejudice about the physical being and of identity. I loved getting to walk, if somewhat briefly, in so many other people’s lives and feel that impact. The novel explores so many aspects, where in the movie much of it is reduced to a montage. I think that was the biggest let down for me. We lose all context of the connection and struggle between the characters and the tension that is slowly building throughout the plot.

While we only get the tiniest hint of the mythology behind A and his existence, the rest of the novel feels like a social commentary on identity and how we treat each other. How we are all different, yet the same. I wanted to get involved more into the reasons why A was the way he was – a wandering soul. I was hoping that in the sequel ‘Another Day’ I’d get more answers, but alas, only another brief touch on the mythology. I have my fingers crossed that we can really sink our teeth into the paranormal or science fiction of it all in the third book of the series ‘Someday’ due out on the 2nd of October this year. Not long to wait now! There is no news of a ‘Someday’ film as yet… and we may not see it given the performance of ‘Every Day’ at the box office. The themes weren’t fully explored and the social commentary on gender fluidity was not strong enough for audiences to pick up – at it still may be a confronting and confusing topic for the population of general movie goers. Maybe if there was more action and exploration of ‘soul-jumping’ it would appeal to a wider audience. I guess only time will tell.

There’s not much to say about this novel. It’s a romance, a character study with a heavy dose of philosophy. I loved it. The concept so fresh in YA! Unfortunately, for me the film fell much flatter than the novel. Still a fun romp and light escapism, but ultimately not quite there.

The book is a beautiful quick read that I highly recommend. The movie does not do it justice, but is still great viewing – though it concentrates more on the romance than of the theme – what is a soul and what makes us human.

Every Day Film vs Novel Pic 05 by Casey Carlisle

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© Casey Carlisle 2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘You Know Me Well’ by Nina LaCour and David Levithan

A contrary contemporary.

You Know Me Well Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle.jpgGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 248

From Goodreads:

Who knows you well? Your best friend? Your boyfriend or girlfriend? A stranger you meet on a crazy night? No one, really?

Mark and Kate have sat next to each other for an entire year, but have never spoken. For whatever reason, their paths outside of class have never crossed.

That is, until Kate spots Mark miles away from home, out in the city for a wild, unexpected night. Kate is lost, having just run away from a chance to finally meet the girl she has been in love with from afar. Mark, meanwhile, is in love with his best friend Ryan, who may or may not feel the same way.

When Kate and Mark meet up, little do they know how important they will become to each other—and how, in a very short time, they will know each other better than any of the people who are supposed to know them more.  

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This is by far my favourite book penned by David Levithan to date. I like his novels, they have interesting characters, a gay narrative, build great relationships and end in some poignant positive note. ‘You Know Me Well’ was all that and more. I will be investigating some of Nina LaCour’s titles as well and see if they stack up.

We get a young teen coming of age, laced with edgy sarcastic humour. But this time the portrayal felt more realistic to me than in many of Levithan’s other titles. And just when I was sure the direction the book would take – it shot off on a tangent. I wasn’t expecting the big Pride fest either. A little cheesy, a little overdone gayness, but had an easy flow and captured my interest from the get go – I could barely put it down. Not that its compelling, rather more engaging and heart-warming. I connected with Mark and Kate more than I have with any of the cast in Levithan’s previous novels. And it was great to have a lesbian perspective. Most of his books have been dominated with a gay male perspective – it was great to see more than one gender represented.

you-know-me-well-book-review-pic-02-by-casey-carlisleMark is an all American boy in love with his best friend. I like how he finds his sense of adventure, but never knows his destination. Kate was interesting, sensitive, yet with a strong sense of who she was. She just needed the confidence to say it out loud. To go for what she wants. And their relationship was beautiful. Instead of instalove, it took the shape of instafriends… and I have experienced that single moment of attraction to someone who has become a life-long friend. I understand the connection and feeling, and haven’t seen it represented so succinctly in a book before.

We also get a great supportive cast, each with their own path.

Honestly, it was touching to read a depiction of a friendship between gay and lesbian teens – it’s not something I see represented a lot in literature – or in real life. In the GLBT community there seems to be a segregation and cliques. It’s more common to see a gay man and his female best friend in this genre.

Overall fantastic tension and angst – almost palpable. And a sensible (happy) ending. This kind of light-hearted, pleasant read is what keeps me coming back to YA contemporary when I need a lift and an afternoon in the sunroom reading.

Overall feeling: Friendship hug!

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Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – ‘Six Days Earlier’ by David Levithan

A short little snapshot!

 Six Day Earlier Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 47

From Goodreads:

Every morning, A wakes up in a different body and leads a different life. A must never get too attached, must never be noticed, must never interfere.  

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I read ‘Six Days Earlier’ as it was purported to be a prelude to ‘Every Day’ and was interested in how this set the scene. Plus it was ultra short and could give me quick insight into what to expect in this series.

This felt a little hit and miss for me – I loved the snippets of lives and the attitude for wearing their skin, leaving everything at a point where the owner could step back in without too many changes.

A’s attitude about life, people, and how to treat others is steaks beyond much of YA out there. The open and non-judgemental mind developed over so many years of walking in just about everyone else’s shoes.

Love the concept, enjoyed a voyeuristic snapshot of so many lives, but ultimately was left feeling a little disorientated and wondered what the purpose of this novelette was… maybe I’ll get some more perspective when I read more of the franchise. I think I’ll have to revisit this short after reading ‘Every Day’ and put it into context; but as a whole I’m not sure what it was supposed to add to the series – but a great snapshot of what to expect, though, too short to give you any answers.

Overall feeling: Fantastic premise but lost me out of context

Six Day Earlier Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

Six Day Earlier Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Hold Me Closer : the Tiny Cooper Story by David Levithan

A book you can’t help but sing along to!

9780525428848_HoldMeCloser_BOM_CV.inddGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 208

From Goodreads:

Jazz hands at the ready! Tiny Cooper (“the world’s largest person who is also really, really gay”) finally gets to tell his story—from his fabulous birth and childhood to his quest for true love and his infamous parade of ex-boyfriends—the way he always intended: as a musical! Filled with honesty, humor, and “big, lively, belty” musical numbers.  

Page border by Casey Carlisle

I had to pick this up – curiosity got the best of me after having read ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ and a couple of my friends raving about it. But be warned – this is not a novel, but a screenplay (of sorts). What a surprise! I wasn’t expecting to be as entertained as much as I was. There are many laugh out loud moments.

We got snippets of Tiny’s play in ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson’ but here we get the fun, fabulous and full play Tiny wrote, complete with stage directions and notes from Tiny himself.

I thought there would be some more poignant moments, true to the styles of musical theatre and David Leviathan, but ‘Hold Me Closer’ fell slightly short of the feels in that department. But it is still a laugh riot, and I could easily picture it as a stage play in my mind’s eye.

We get to live in Tiny Coopers head for a while, as opposed to third person in the novel starring his best friend Will. There is a true spirit of acceptance, love and an indomitable spirit for life that shines through. 100% Tiny. This work really embodies all things Tiny Cooper.

Hold Me Closer Book Review Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle

He is articulate and sensitive to all the characters he’s based his musical on, without apology. It was ballsy, comical and touching. ‘Hold Me Closer’ is a quick, fast read.

I’m glad I added this to my collection, even though this is not something I would have readily picked up – because written as a script, it was difficult to get into the narrative. Sometimes it felt jarring. And sometimes the cadence of the melody was difficult to pick, which annoyed me, dragging me out of the story all too frequently.

Where some novels or series that release something extra to the collection usually consist of novellas, I enjoyed of point of difference in the reading a new format and getting to explore the play that was so prominently depicted in the story line of ‘Will Grayson, Will Grayson.’

I’d recommend it to fans of David Levithan, lovers of Will Grayson, and anyone who has an itch for musical theatre.

 

Overall feeling: Psychedelic Fun

Hold Me Closer Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Hold Me Closer Book Review Pic 04 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – The Lover’s Dictionary by David Levithan

A unique definition of a relationship.

The Lovers Dictionary Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 211

From Goodreads:

A modern love story told through a series of dictionary-style entries is a sequence of intimate windows into the large and small events that shape the course of a romantic relationship.  

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With the appetite for something different, I grabbed a copy of ‘The Lover’s Dictionary’ knowing it was narrated in a unusual layout – each chapter written as a definition of a word. All of it pertaining to a relationship.

What a novel idea (pun intended).

It felt like flipping through someone’s photo album, getting snippets of people’s lives, each frame a small story in itself, of just a brief feeling or word…

I liked the concept, it made it an engaging read.

There was a lot of humour and emotion interspersed throughout, and some half- conversations planted to mislead, and then back track, so you are never quite sure what really happened. It changes time and POV to really keep you on your toes.

On the whole it is really a bunch of moments of a young gay couples encounters eloquently told in tiny entries (say that fast 10 times).

I garnered a lot of insight about the characters and their relationship, and even their views on the world. But what I didn’t get was a story line, this is more like a stream of consciousness.

At the end I felt like I missed the pay off. Although it does wrap up nicely, it is anything but a traditional book. A welcome break in my usual diet, but a little disappointing. Commendations on the work as a whole though.

It’s a quick read as some chapters are only a word or sentence long… could be completed in an afternoon.

Overall feeling: That was different…

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The Lovers Dictionary Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

 

© Casey Carlisle 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.